Personally, I know that I lack the ability to focus on one thing for very long. I bounce from topic to topic every day as new issues develop and new questions arise. Authors commit months, or even years, to one subject when writing a book. Their ability to make that time commitment is so amazing to me. So, what about a plant breeder that spends years developing the next great variety of corn, soybean, wheat, canola, or peas?

The patience and dedication of plant breeders is so overlooked.

Last Friday, I noticed a tweet by Dr. Richard Cuthbert, an AAFC wheat breeder at Swift Current, SK.

He tweeted – “Love wheat breeding”

It got me thinking about the focus and determination of a plant breeder who always has to be thinking about the next trait, disease or pest issue. In other words, what the farmer will need.

Get an inside look at the latest in breeding techniques with Jason Reinheimer of LCRC

For many of us, what we see is the face of the seed retailer, the seed company rep, that shiny bag of seed, or the nicely treated seed flowing into our semi trailer before planting. More often we should think, too, of the plant breeder that spent 10 or more years slugging it out in the greenhouse and lab, in order to bring that new variety to life. The dedication and focus from the plant breeders in our industry should not go unnoticed.

People like Rob Graf, Bill Legge, Peter Franck, Francis Glenn, Jim Helm, Ron Depauw, Eric Gagnon, or Brian Rossnagel, just to name a few, have all made massive contributions to the farmers’ bottom line. There are many more unnamed scientists, technicians, and assistants that have dedicated their lives to ensuring you have the best genetics on your farm.

I say, “thank you,” to the plant breeders, making agriculture better with every cross, every plot, every co-op trial, and every new variety release.

One thought on “Ode to the plant breeder

  1. I have had the pleasure of becoming friends with Dr. Francis Glenn, not through agriculture, but thorough our shared interest in antique fire trucks and attending fire musters. In talking about his profession only one out of 100 of his corn breeds are satisfactory to offer to the market, and it takes him ten (10) years to get to that point. All while getting constant phone calls from around the world asking him for better varieties to combat a variety of immediate growing challenges such as drought and pest. Talk about patience. And he’s a hell of a nice guy too.

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